Previous studies have found that in American culture high-arousal positive states (HAP) such as excitement are valued more and low-arousal positive states (LAP) such as calm are valued less than they are in Chinese culture. What specific factors account for these differences? The authors predicted that when people and cultures aimed to influence others (i.e., assert personal needs and change others’ behaviors to meet those needs), they would value HAP more and LAP less than when they aimed to adjust to others (i.e., suppress personal needs and change their own behaviors to meet others’ needs). They test these predictions in 1 survey and 3 experimental studies. The findings suggest that within and across American and Chinese contexts, differences in ideal affect are due to specific interpersonal goals.